The Christ Lutheran Church is seen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Christ Lutheran Church is seen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Musicians bring ‘golden age of guitar’ to Performing Arts Society

Armin Abdihodžic and Thomas Tallant to play concert Saturday

Classical and Romantic guitar will again sound in the Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna when Armin Abdihodžic returns to the Kenai Peninsula, joined by Thomas Tallant for a performance called “Classical Guitar Through Centuries,” put on by the Performing Arts Society.

Abdihodžic, an assistant professor of guitar at the University of Alaska Anchorage, has performed multiple times on the Kenai Peninsula, society Vice President Maria Allison said Monday.

On Wednesday, Abdihodžic explained that the show will be broken into two parts, the first featuring himself and Tallant performing early 19th century guitar music by composers Mauro Giuliani, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Haydn. In the second, Abdihodžic will play contemporary solo music, which he said would include songs from 1980 forward.

In that first half, for the songs that date back to the Romantic period, Abdihodžic said he and Tallant will be performing on traditional guitars that date back to that time.

“They were smaller in size, and they used gut strings. So it has a very different sound quality to it,” he said.

The pair will not be using real gut strings, but will be using replicas that reflect the sound and style of the 19th century guitars.

Abdihodžic will also be performing using an authentic guitar made in Vienna in 1860 for two of the songs.

“All this music with guitar is really considered like the golden age of guitar, and is also the beginning of Romanticism in music,” he said.

Allison said that the performance would showcase both guitar styles and sounds that attendees may be unfamiliar with, and said that Abdihodžic is great at engaging and inviting in the audience.

The intimacy of the performance is something that Allison said is empowered by acoustics within the church.

“You can hear so many things,” she said “when they slide their fingers on the string, you can hear that little zing, you can hear the plucking and a lot of little details about their playing.”

The unusual sounds and styles described by Allison extend even into the more modern music, Abdihodžic said, where he will be performing percussion effects using the guitar — scraping and tapping to produce additional sounds.

“That second half will show them the guitar is still evolving as an instrument, that composers are still developing what the guitar can do,” he said.

Both Abdihodžic and Tallant are from Alaska, and Allison said that featuring local professional musicians is a benefit in and of itself.

“We think of professional musicians as being people who live somewhere like New York or L.A., but here is a man who lives and works in Anchorage,” she said. Especially for younger attendees, she said this is a showcase of an opportunity.

While the society does feature performers from around the nation, Allison says she’s proud of the organization for the work it’s done so often featuring the “really fine performers or musicians right here in the state.”

Abdihodžic said part of the appeal of returning to the Kenai Peninsula is the outreach he is able to do, the opportunity to share his knowledge of the music and the instrument with younger generations. He will be visiting and performing at Soldotna High School and Skyview Middle School Friday, and that he has visited schools around the area in previous years.

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, at the church. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for students. They can be purchased at the door or at River City Books, Northcountry Fair, Country Liquor, Already Read Books and Curtain Call.

For more information about the Performing Arts Society or details about upcoming shows, visit performingartssociety.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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